The vast majority of questions on this site cover recent claims, but I have not been able to find anything in the Help Center or Meta saying that a claim becomes off-topic after a certain amount of time has passed. Is there a time limit as to how recent a claim must be for it to be acceptable here?

For example, we field a lot of questions on claims made by contemporary politicians, and these sorts of claims are widely accepted as within the scope of this site. If I found a claim in the writings of Julius Caesar, a decree issued by Pharaoh Thutmose II, or a speech given by Alexander the Great, and the claim was sufficiently clear and specific, would it be on-topic, or would it be closed as too old or no longer notable?

To be clear, I'm asking in general, not asking for feedback on a specific claim that I'm thinking about posting about. I do accept that unclear or unverifiable claims of the past (e.g "I'm the smartest king in the world" or "God has cursed my enemies and blessed my upcoming victory") are not going to be acceptable regardless of how long ago they were made.

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    An Alexandrian 'speech'? No srsly, the turn towards "contemporary politicians" is quite ugly. But why should anyone conclude "too old" is "no longer notable"? Notable means 'widely believed', and that's that. So, other than the noted tendency to use this site for recent event partisanship bolstering, can you name an example of closing anything here for 'sooo. 2018?' (Close reason indicates to me the very opposite?) Commented Nov 10, 2020 at 12:18
  • For very old claims our History site might be a better fit. Commented Nov 12, 2020 at 17:32

1 Answer 1


The age of the claim is irrelevant. "Notability" is solely about how many people believe it. The purpose of the notability requirement is so we don't chase geese over claims that no one thinks is true in the first place.

For your examples, I'd be concerned that a claim in a speech by a person who lived thousands of years ago is inherently notable, just because they're a well known historical figure. Instead, questioning the validity of such claims seems an historical pursuit, not a skeptical one.

However, there's certainly no shortage of "wives tales" and such that may have started with a famous person's claim, but the notability of those claims is immediately understood. We all know people believe it already.

Being less extreme, I'm sure someone said something in the 1980s that many people believe today. Or even 1900, or last year. Showing notability shouldn't be hard for these claims, because they keep getting repeated by more contemporary sources.

  • Good point about the history angle. If you ask "Did <famous person> say <something weird>" it is really more of a history question.
    – pipe
    Commented Nov 12, 2020 at 15:32
  • @pipe Quote verification is clearly allowed. That's not what I'm referring to. I'm referring to historical persons making specific claims. For example, if Alexander the Great said "Mine it's the biggest empire to have ever been", we could test that, but whether it was really true at the time, or he at least had good reason to believe it was true, is an historical pursuit, not a skeptical one.
    – user11643
    Commented Nov 13, 2020 at 2:57

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